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    Matera, Italy

    If you want to explore the ancient wonders of Italy sans crowds the town of Matera is a good place to start your vacation. The town is located in the region of Basilicata in southern Italy and has been settled since Paleolithic times. Romans founded the area in 3 BC, and with rocky homes jutting out of the hillside, most of the old city looks exactly like it did thousands of years ago. A trip to Matera will feel like a step back in time as you explore all the ancient city has to offer.

    The Sassi (Ancient Town)

    The city of Matera is most famous for its ancient area Sassi di Matera" (stones of Matera). The Sassi are stone houses that many people believe were some of the first human settlements in Italy. Houses are half-carved and half-built from the surrounding rock hills. In some cases streets are located on the rooftops of other houses. Visitors to Matera can tour the cave-like dwellings and even spend a few nights in them. The rock-hewn homes have been painstakingly restored to their former glory and each room offers minimalistic amenities for guests.

    Foodie Heaven

    If you like immersing yourself in local culture, then you'll love eating in Matera. Much of the city's fare comes from ancient recipes that have been handed down for centuries. There are many great restaurants to try which are perfect for a romantic meal or special occasion. You can even find many small eateries nestled in the ancient rocks of Matera.

    The food in Matera is some of the best in Italy. Slowly cooked to perfection, you'll be planning your next meal before you even finish breakfast. The five most popular foods to try in Matera are the bread, the pizza, the grilled lamb, dried red chilies and the orecchiette (small ear-shaped noodles).


    Since Matera is ancient in the true sense of the word, it's seen its share of religions rise and fall over thousands of years. One of the religious buildings still in existence is the Matera Cathedral. This cathedral dates back to the 13th century and rests on the highest point of the city of Matera. Venturing into the building you'll notice wooden choir stalls, a nativity and paintings nearly as old as the structure itself.

    Another church in Matera, San Giovanni Battista, was built in 1193 and boasts intricate carvings and columns outside and inside. San Giovanni Battista was the first building that was constructed outside the city walls. In 1480 the building was abandoned due to its isolation outside the city and the war time risk to the nuns who lived there.

    There are many wonderful things to see and do in the ancient city of Matera. Ask your travel agent for even more vacation ideas when planning a visit to Matera, Italy.

    Packing Travel Adapters When Traveling Abroad

    Packing Travel Adapters When Traveling Abroad

    If you're planning to travel abroad in the near future, be sure you have the appropriate adapter plug for your trip. Many people are surprised to find that electrical outlets are not the same overseas as they are in the States. Having a stash of adapters is the best way to go so that you can use your electric travel gadgets while on vacation without having to worry about blowing a fuse.

    For most traveling in the European Union, which consists of 27 sovereign states including Austria, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain and the UK, you'll just need a two-prong circular shaped adapter which will convert any electrical cord to the country's socket size.

    However older buildings in countries like the UK, France and Germany may have different outlets that predate the unification. It may be worth it to bring both the European Union outlet and the adapter specific for those countries just to cover all your bases.

    You can find more detailed information about travel adapters through this helpful article on REI.com.

    Where in the World?

    Where in the World May

    Where in the world can you find this ancient temple?

    It can be found at the Greek archaeological site of Selinunte in Sicily, Italy. The site has been abandoned for over 2,000 years and contains numerous temples and ruins.1

    1: http://www.thethinkingtraveller.com/thinksicily/guide-to-sicily/archaeological-sites-in-sicily/selinunte.aspx

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